Gyda M. Sindre, Amy Eaglestone, Véronique Dudouet and Johanna Söderström of the Politics After War network spoke on a panel at the annual conference of the Conflict Research Society on 17-18 September 2018. The conference was hosted by the University of Birmingham’s School of Government and Society.
Comparative lessons of rebel group conversion and post-war political engagement by former armed groups
In the last few decades, nearly every peace settlement negotiated to end a civil war has been premised upon the construction or expansion of party-based electoral politics. Consequently, many settlements give explicit provisions for armed groups to transform into political parties. While the subject of rebel-to-party transformation has received increased scholarly attention in recent years, international support for rebel group conversion as part of international peacebuilding efforts is fairly new. This panel engages a conversation between academics and practitioners focusing on the comparative lessons we can draw from engagement and research on rebel group political conversion and inclusion both at the organizational level (i.e. rebel-to-party transformation) and the level of ex-combatants and veterans. Drawing on the comparative insights from multiple contexts, the papers discuss avenues for supporting rebel-to-party transformation and democratic inclusion; experiences and challenges of international party support during war-to-peace transitions; paths of ex-combatant political reconversion over time, and trajectories for female combatants political engagement in the aftermath of war. Initiating a new policy dialogue on the dynamics of Politics After War, the panel provides timely discussion on how to best support rebel conversion to enhance positive impact on long-term peacebuilding and democratization in the aftermath of war.
The role of democracy assistance in the political conversion of rebel movement: Practitioner perspectives from engaging with the FARC in Colombia (Amy Eaglestone, Netherlands Institute for Multi-Party Democracy)
Rebel-to-party transformation and international peacebuilding: Balancing short-term goals and long-term implications (Gyda M Sindre, University of Cambridge)
Being a Veteran, Being a Citizen: Political Identity Construction After Three Wars (Johanna Söderström, Department of Government, Uppsala University)
Overcoming the gender backlash: Options for female combatants’ post-war political leadership (Véronique Dudouet, Programme Director, Conflict Transformation Reseach Programme, Berghof Foundation)